Staff list

Alfthan, Björn

Acting Head, Polar and Cryosphere Division

Phone: +47 907 344 32

Email: bjorn.alfthan@grida.no

Professional Experience

Current Responsibilities: Björn is the Acting Head of the Polar and Cryosphere Division. He is also manages the Nomadic Herders initiative, which focuses on conserving biodiversity, reducing land degradation and improving livelihoods in reindeer herding regions of Mongolia and the Far East of Russia (for more info see http://www.grida.no/polar/activities/4493.aspx). Since 2012, Björn has co-ordinated the development of a full-scale funding proposal to the Global Environment Facility, together with colleagues from the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and a number of other partner organisations.

Other significant duties include working as a professional writer for the Himalaya Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP, see http://www.icimod.org/hicap), where Björn is helping to communicate complex scientific data and results from the project to a broader audience, including governments and development practitioners in the region.

Specific skills/competencies:

  • Project management – co-ordination of large international projects, proposal building/funding, reporting, monitoring and evaluation,
  • Ecology and biodiversity science, particularly in an Arctic context
  • Scientific writing – communicating complex environmental issues in easily accessible formats
  • Communications and media (writing, film, photography)

Previous work:

Before arriving at GRID-Arendal, Björn worked as a consultant for the International Centre for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - where he assisted in the project cycle management of biodiversity and land degradation projects. He has also worked for conservation NGOs in the Union of the Comoros and in Tanzania, focussing on both marine and terrestrial ecological studies, capacity building, and awareness-raising.

Academic/Research Background

His academic background is in ecology and biodiversity science. During his studies he had the opportunity to work as a university research assistant in Spain, and to undertake my MSc dissertation research on human-wildlife conflict in Assam, India.

2007 – 2008: MSc Biodiversity, Conservation & Management, University of Oxford (UK)
2002 – 2006: BSc Biology with a Year in Europe, Imperial College London (UK)
2004 – 2005: Research Assistant, Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia (Spain)